I would like to have the rest of the words to this poem.
I'm not sure if it's blue eyes or blue bell.
the blue eyes have a secret to keep
they were only flowers you know.
This was a favourite poem that my mother used to recite to me. I can remember most of it, but will put in dots for words I do not remember. If anyone can fill in the gaps I would be very grateful.
The blue eyes had a secret to keep
They were only flowers you know
And they blossomed down by the river
Where the reeds and the lillies grow.
Jenny Wren came one early morn
And her voice was as sweet as a bell
I've a nest just down by the old oak tree
But little blue eyes don't tell.
Then she flew away
Far away over the sun kissed hill
And the blue eyes smiled
And nodded their heads
We'll guard it, of course we will.
Now just at day break the miller's boys
Came down to the riverside
They were playing truant
And thought the reeds a good place to hide.
I'm sure there's a nest
(Just down by here one of the boys said???)
They broke the reeds and hunted around
It's here and it must be found.
The blue eyes shivered and huddled ...
Keep close and don't let them see
Each little blue eye .... .... ... said
'Yes boys, we know, but we cannot tell
We promised .... .... you see.
'Tis evening - all is still
Save the river murmuring by
The mother comes flying home again
What is that faint, low cry?
One little blossom raised her head
Your birdies are safe and well, she said
But we're bruised and broken and nearly dead
But Jenny, WE DIDN'T TELL.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2008 07:40AM by franceso.
Those extra words were enough to produce a result from Google.
I. LITTLE BLUE-EYES DOWN THE LANE.
THE little Blue-eyes had a secret to keep. I
mean those little Blue-eyes on the green
bank which people call Speedwell those
beautiful little fellows that peep at you so
cunningly as you pass from among the yel-
low buttercups, and the long weeds, and the
twisting brambles underneath the hedge.
They had a secret to keep. You would
never have thought it. You would have
felt sure that they had nothing in the world
to trouble themselves about ; but that from
day-dawn to sunset they only had to shine
out, and look pretty, and be as good-tem-
pered as possible. This part of their duty
they did to perfection certainly, and I fancy
there were very few little flowers that held
up their heads so well, or that kept them-
selves so clean and neat, and so far out of the
dirt. And that, you know, is a duty. If
other people, as well as the little Speedwells,
kept a bright, happy face all the day long,
it would be a good thing indeed. And I
wish next time you go down the lane, you
would just look at them, and see if I am not
telling the truth. I know that if ever I feel
sulky or out of sorts, a peep at the little
Blue-eyes always does me good.
But I was going to tell you about the
secret. Let me begin at the beginning.
Very early in the morning the sun got up,
for it was warm weather, and not the sort
for anybody to stay in bed. The long grass
was waking up, and the buttercups lifting
up their heads to say good morning to their
great warm friend in the blue sky. The
daisies, too, were winking their little eyes as
if they were only half awake. Then the
Speedwells spread out their soft blue petals,
wondering what this bright day would bring
It was just at that moment that little
Jenny Wren flew out of her snug nest in the
bank, and twittered the secret to them all as
" My babies are all out of the shell this
morning, Blue-eyes ! Such little darlings
they are ; oh, such little darlings. But don't
you tell anybody, Blue-eyes, mind you don't
tell ! "
And then she flew away, dear little Jenny
did, as if she was glad to stretch her wings
after such a long sitting still. And the Blue-
eyes made up their minds that they wouldn't
tell. No, not for anything ! It would have
been very nice just to turn their pretty eyes
round and take a peep at the new babies.
But they must not do that, for they had been
put just in the right place, and it was their
duty to look straight up at the sun, who is
king of almost all the flowers, you know.
So they would not turn round even to look
at their own little charge.
They were very short, young flowers as
yet, nestling among the grass ; by and by,
they would grow bigger, and taller, and
bushier, and stretch out farther, but I don't
think they would be so pretty then.
When the sun had got higher up in the
sky, the blackbird came and sang to them,
opening his beautiful yellow beak, and giving
them the sweetest music. It was meant, I
fancy, for his little love; but the Blue-eyes
took it all to themselves, and it didn't matter
much. And when he had done his song,
he had his breakfast, and they watched him
with a great deal of interest. I think it
must have been as hard for the little flowers
as for you and me to understand the pleasure
of dragging up that long worm, snapping
him in half, and swallowing him down.
They had had their sweet draught of morn-
ing dew, and that seemed much nicer, and
it made them feel so well and look so fresh !
But then, again, we should not like a break-
fast of morning dew; so, after all, I suppose,
we must leave everyone to his own fancy.
When the blackbird had flown away,
there came a number of little boys down the
lane, all on their way to school, and the
Speedwells watched them as they passed.
I don't think the boys cared much about the
flowers, yet as they came along they peered
into the bank very closely. What were they
looking for? I don't think our little friends
would ever have guessed, if one small boy
had not let it out. He was a little red-haired
urchin, with a bright, round face, and eyes
the very image of the little Speedwell.
" I'm sure there is a nest in here/' he
cried. " I say, you little blue things, isn't
there now? "
But the little Blue-eyes would not tell.
They were very speaking eyes, too ; they
seemed to have a world of fun in them, and
a world of happiness beside. But they were
not tell-tale eyes, not they ! So the little
boy went away, and Jenny Wren came back
again, and settled down in her nest for a
Then it grew very hot, and the ground
got dry and hard, and the sun stared down
into those little blue-eyed subjects of his, as
if he would put them out of countenance.
And, indeed, he did make them feel rather
queer, and very much inclined to shrivel up
all round and die. But still they looked up
at him in their little innocent way, and never
believed he could do them any harm. For
he was their hero, you see. And yet, by
and by, they were rather glad, I think, to
see a great cloud come and cover up his face ;
and when the nice, cool drops of rain fell,
they were gladder still. I dare say they
thought it was the sun that melted the cloud
for them, for they took a deep draught, and
then they looked up in a very ecstacy of
merry delight, as if they would cry out,
" Oh, thanks, oh, thanks ! "
It was just then that a poor tired mother
came with her little child, and sat down to
rest on the cool bank under shelter from the'
rain. There was a great oak to shelter her,
but it did not stretch out far enough to steal
the rain-drops from the flowers. The little
child saw them all covered with the bright
drops, and he reached out his hand for
them. " Yes, gather them, Johnny," said
his mother, "they are nice home flowers,
and they tell us we shall * Speed well ' and
get home quick. And that's good news,
Johnny, after all this long day's tramp."
And the boy gathered some of them in
his little hand, and then they went away.
But the Blue-eyes whispered to each other,
as they parted, not to forget the secret.
By and by, when the sun had gone down,
and it was a clear, cool evening, Jenny Wren
flew out again to get a breath of air, before
settling for the night, and again she whis-
pered : "Don't tell, Blue-eyes, don't tell!"
And the Blue-eyes nodded, for there was a
gentle breeze blowing over the bank.
Only five minutes later, and the little
red-haired boy came creeping along the lane.
This time we know what he was coming
for, and the Speedwells might well keep their
eyes wide open, and ruffle out their green
leaves to cover up all spaces. He had a
pinafore full of stones which he kept throw-
ing, one at a time, into the hedge. " If only
I can make the old birds fly out," he said,
"I shall know where to find the nest."
Wasn't it happy that Jenny had just gone
out? Once, his rough, brown hand came
diving in among the flowers, and one of our
little friends was all crushed up, and never
lifted its head any more. But the Blue-eyes
did not tell ; in fact, they looked supremely
unconscious. And after peeping and peering
about, at last the little boy went away. And
then back came the mother-bird, chirruping
her thanks. And very tired of their long
day's watching, the Blue-eyes shut them-
selves up and went to sleep.
I have only told you about one day, but
you will easily fancy the rest ; for all the
days are much alike to the happy flowers ;
and those bright, sunny hours flew quickly
It was just as the Blue-eyes had grown
tall and straggly, and were beginning to
think of dropping off their soft azure petals
it was just then that the little wrens flew
out of the nest. It was a happy time for
Jenny ; and indeed she might well be thank-
ful, for I could tell you stories of nest-rob-
bing all down that lane that would surprise
you. The wonder is that any little birds
ever live to grow up, but that is neither here
The last thing, when all was done, and
Jenny had seen all her sons out in the world,
and had taken her last look at the empty
nest, just to make sure that nothing was left
behind then she stopped a moment to thank
her friends on the bank.
" You never told anybody, Blue-eyes !
That was good of you ! And now they are
all off, and my mind is easy ! Good-night,
little Blue-eyes, good-night ! "
And then there came a soft evening
breeze, and it blew all the little blue petals
away. They were willing enough to vanish,
those little Blue-eyes, knowing that others
would come after them, and that they should
never be missed. There had been quite a
little family of them, while the nest was full,
and they had kept handing on the secret
from one to another, as some died away and
others were gathered. Now there was no
message to hand on. "But we didn't tell,"
they murmured as they fell ; " we never
told ! "
Good-night, little Blue-eyes, good-night !
Found on this page [www.archive.org]
Well, that's a Google result, Linda, but I'm sure you'll agree it all looks like prose. I can't imagine anyone learning that by heart to recite!
They're obviously the same plot, so I'm wondering what their relationship is. That long piece of prose is dated 1875. I looked at the facsimile of the book on the same site and the author isn't named, it only says "By the author of 'My Young Days', 'Little Lives', etc." It's a book of short stories all of the same type.
So, was the poem written by the same person? Which came first? Are they both derived from another, older source?
I don't know, but would be interested to find out.